Note: Thank you all for your kind notes, emails, and texts. I have not been inspired to blog since I lost my purpose and reason for humor, sarcasm, cooking, and life in general. I am ready to give it a go now.
I am sure you are reading this headline and thinking, how is Chip traveling with Karen? Hear me out on this one.
It is no secret that living without Chip has just been horrific. I miss our adventures taking Tillie for a ride in the Jeep and seeing where the road takes us on a Sunday afternoon. Then the thought dawned on me- why not take Chip with Tillie and me and see where the road takes us?
The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
For decades Chip and I traveled the New York State Thruway, and when passing The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, I would often suggest that we check it out.
“Why would you want to drive around and look at weeds…from the car?” he would say.
“It is beautiful,” I replied, “and peaceful.”
But that is as far as we got. So, I decided that the weekend before what would have been our 32nd wedding anniversary, I would take Chip to the Montezuma Refuge. (He is, after all, a captive audience.)
Have backpack-will travel
Chip was cremated, and I have his ashes in a beautiful wooden urn. It is not a sad or frightening urn, and I feel like he is with me. On a warm and overcast afternoon, I placed Chip’s urn in my backpack, leashed up Miss Tillie, and the three of us were on the road again. In just under 45 minutes from our home in Canandaigua, we entered the gateway to the refuge.
I rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof, and at six mph (painful speed for me), I soaked in the surroundings of refuge. I could smell the earth, the mud, and the decay of summer’s flowers, yielding to falling leaves. I worked hard to stay in the moment and be a witness to all that was around me—a little frog in the road to the sound of the geese overhead. Cars lined the road, and the clicking of camera shutters was rampant. It must be a photographer’s heaven.
Chip was with us in the urn and my soul. As we continued on the drive, I wasn’t sure if I felt the warmth of his joy or the heat of his signature smirk. Tillie was content sharing the front seat with him and snoring soundly. The Rippington’s played softly in the background, and we continued.
Soon it was time to go
The eagle structure is quite visible from the Thruway. It beckons visitors to stop, park and take a closer look. A fellow motorist had just set the binoculars on a crane and offered me a bird’s eye view. I left Tillie to guard Chip, and I stepped up on the deck to take a closer look. It was awe-inspiring- so majestic and tall.
I returned to the car and drove in silence as we exited the park. Surprisingly, only a few tears fell as we left and soon we were back home. The house was so silent. I knew it was time to move back home and on that afternoon, I began to pack.
Until we travel again…
Life will never be the same without Chip. I cannot describe the ever-present pain in my heart, but on that afternoon, it felt slightly renewed.
I don’t know where our next adventure will take us, but I am feeling the need for a cookie from The Sugar Shack in Vermont.